Of course, Joe did not really utter that foul expletive, because Joe was not that kind of little boy.
''Oi! Who are you calling little?'' said Joe, as he inspected the sticking plasters on his grazed knees, and looked at the badge on his school blazer. His mother had been so proud when he had passed the entrance exam to get into St. Mungo's.
''Now stop that right now,'' he said, pulling a home-made catapult out of the blazer pocket and shaking it. ''No-one asked for a children's author from yonks ago to butt in.''
His best chum, David, a jolly good looking little chap with fair hair, looked at Joseph in puzzlement and took hold of his hand.
''I say, Joey. Stop spouting all that rot to yourself, and lets have all sorts of jolly japes in the swing-park on the way home. I have sixpence, so we can buy gobstoppers and sherbet dabs from the sweetshop. The sun is shining, and I feel gay.''
Joseph pulled his hand away from David, rather rudely.
''So now I'm Joseph, am I?'' he shouted, stamping his foot in a rather undignified tantrum. ''And you can't blame me for forgetting my manners, when I seem to suddenly have reverted to childhood and gone back in time about fifty years. And I do not have tantrums!'' He stamped his foot again, making a complete mockery of his last statement.
David looked at him, horrified. ''You've always been Joseph,'' he said, his face pale, and worried-looking. ''And it looks like a tantrum to me. What's all that about going back fifty years? You're scaring me, Joey. Shall I fetch Mummy, to give you some cod-liver oil?''
''No, of course not.'' said Joseph. ''Your mother doesn't live with you anymore.'' He looked up, shaking his fists ''And stop calling me bloody Joseph!''
David burst into tears. ''Stop being so beastly, Joey,'' he sobbed, ''And talking all that rot about Mummy. Just because your mother drinks. And if anybody hears you using that bad language, you'll have your hide tanned for you, and no mistake!''
''This is complete and utter pants.'' said Joseph, just like the common little beast he was. David gave him a hurt look, and ran away down the road, towards his house.
''Great.'' said the naughty little boy with no friends. ''What now?''